THE first ever dedicated map of the Thames Estuary has taken pride of place within the bar of a Southend seafront hotel.

The five-foot by five foot masterpiece has been installed at the Park Inn by Radisson Palace Hotel.

It was created by artist Adam Dant and inspired by author and former Echo chief features writer, Tom King’s book The Thames Estuary Trail (20th anniversary edition).


Adam said: ‘This was always more than a simple illustration job.

"The resulting picture is many things – a map, a visual narrative, a cast of characters both living and dead. Helen Mirren, for example, sits beside Pocahontas.

"But it’s a trompe l’oeil of Tom’s life.

"I’ve tried to also represent teeming life that has existed for two millennia in the estuary including the scorpions in Sheppey which now live where mammoths once roamed.”

Veteran journalist Tom, who lives in Wickford, added: “One has dreams but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that someone would create such a masterly map. I am a lifelong collector and lover of maps and so it is particularly thrilling to see a book that I’ve written achieve a whole new dimension in this form. And like all good maps – it tells a story!’ Tom’s book, The Thames Estuary Trail, will be unveiled on May 30 at Southend Pier and will be one of the highlights of the Estuary Festival, which kicks off this weekend and will run until June 13.

The hotel was chosen as the place to put the map because it is such an iconic part of the Thames Estuary trail.

Janneman Britz, general manager of the hotel, said: “I absolutely love the map. The Park Inn hotel has been around for such a long time and it was really exciting when we were asked to get involved with the festival.

“It was the inclusiveness of the project that really sparked us. The festival does not take place in a gallery – it’s everywhere, spread out along the estuary. A whole host of events will be taking place during the festival, organised by arts group Metal – both in Southend and across the Estuary as a whole.”

The festival begins this Friday. Visit for all the details.